Samaris at the Oslo Hackney
Formed in 2011, Icelandic electronic band Samaris were quick to win awards at both Músíktilraunir and Kraumur in their country of origin. Having played festivals across Europe – including Roskilde, Green Man, Longitude, All Tomorrow’s Parties and Airwaves last year – they brought their haunting brand of Icelandic electronica to the Oslo Hackney last night.
The trio attracted a balanced crowd of men and women, the spotty and the silver-haired, charming even the chatty ones at the back into a spellbound silence from the get-go. To the untrained English ear, the comparison to label-mate Björk might seem inevitable, and Jófríður Ákadóttir’s ethereal voice is worthy of the compliment, whispering around those gathered as if it were carried on a breeze. Áslaug Rún Magnúsdóttir’s haunting clarinet blended hypnotically, adding an extra level of intrigue, creating a sound that suggested space and stillness. Then the bass hit, made by Þórður Kári Steinþórsson aka “Doddi”, waking the crowd from their reverie and vibrating through everything in the room like an abrupt shiver in the dark.
As they moved to the third single from their last album, Tibrá, there was a definite sense of warmth that arose in the crowd, responding to the brighter sound that felt like a new day; throughout the hour-long set they kept all eyes on the artists. At times a downtempo sway would take hold, the natural response to the dub influences in the echoey rhythmic bass of Lífsins Ólgusjór, but frequently the reintroduction of the electronic aspect would be performed in a purposefully jarring way, lulling everyone into a sense of comfort before dislodging it. The final track – whose Icelandic name means “raving” – transported the audience through industrial drum machines reminiscent of Leftism-era Leftfield to the depths of a warehouse all-nighter, but then out into the dawn as they made way for vocals that were a sunrise for the ears.
Watching Samaris live, it is evident why they chose to rework their 2014 album for this year’s Silkidrangar Sessions: there is a sense that these songs are in a continual process of forming and reforming, and are never exactly the same twice.
Photo: Jo Barragan
For further information about Samaris and future events visit here.
Silkidrangar Sessions is released on May 25th and is available to pre-order here.
Watch the video for Tibrá here: